In RCAF Today 2019, we examine personnel retention, fighter procurement, future aircrew training and more!
Five individuals were recognized for their contributions to Canadian aviation at the 46th annual induction dinner and ceremonies on May 16 for Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. The event was attended by close to 400 guests held at Bombardier’s Laurent Beaudoin Completion Centre at Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport.
“Honoured this year are two fighter pilots of the Second World War who post-war, continued in aviation development for the rest of their lives. As well, we honour three individuals whose accomplishments in civil aviation have made advancements in the industry from the design and development of aircraft to building airlines,” said Rod Sheridan, chairman of the Hall.
Of note, one of the two oldest members of the Hall, wartime hero Russell Bannock, who turns 100 on Nov. 1, was also in attendance. He joined No. 418 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), in June 1944 and flew the de Havilland Mosquito on intruder missions over Europe. After the war, he joined de Havilland Canada as a test pilot. Bannock and engineer Dick Richmond, not in attendance, who turned 100 in January, were presented with portraits by Irma Coucill, known for her portraits of Hockey Hall of Fame inductees.
Longtime Hall historian John Chalmers was recognized by Rod Sheridan for his dedication and hard work over the years as he retires this fall, but will remain on the volunteer Operations Committee.
The evening’s MC was Denis Chagnon, former director of communications at ICAO who introduced the inductees, namely David Charles Fairbanks, John Peter Holding, Barry Paul Lapointe, O.B.C., James McGregor “Greg” McDougall, and William Philip “Bill” Paris, C.M. The five will join 232 other inductees in the Hall, including Laurent Beaudoin, former CEO of Bombardier Inc, inducted in 1999 and who presented the certificates and medals to the newest members of the Hall.
Fairbanks enlisted in the RCAF in 1941 before being posted to the U.K. where he achieved 15 victories flying the Hawker Tempest fighter. He commanded 274 Squadron Royal Air Force before being shot down just before VE-Day and three times was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
In 1955, he joined de Havilland Canada and contributed to the development of its STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) technology products for which he was posthumously awarded Canada’s oldest aviation award, the Trans-Canada (McKee) Trophy in 1976. Fairbanks died suddenly at the age of 52 in 1975.
After 17 years in the British aerospace industry, Holding joined Canadair for the development of the Challenger aircraft. For 25 years, he was involved in innovation, product development and engineering of every project undertaken by Canadair/Bombardier and its wholly owned subsidiaries. Holding’s involvement in the advancement of the Canadian aerospace industry as Bombardier’s executive vice-president, Engineering and Product Development, is difficult to overstate. Post retirement, Holding served as an industry consultant and board member and chairman for Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. He received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Montreal in 2001 for outstanding achievements in aerospace.
Lapointe, O.B.C., founded Kelowna Flightcraft in 1968, now known as KF Aerospace and built it into one of the largest maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations in the world, dedicated to military training, charter operations and commercial delivery. In 1974, he launched KF Air Charter and from 1976 to 2015, KF operated nearly 20 aircraft carrying cargo daily across Canada for Purolator and Canada Post. Today, nearly 80 per cent of the pilots who obtain their air force wings pass through the doors of the KF training facility at Portage La Prairie, Man. Among his many awards, he received the Order of British Columbia in 2015.
McDougall co-founded Harbour Air in 1982 in Richmond, B.C., after being laid off as a commercial pilot. What began as a modest charter operation is now the largest floatplane organization in the world with scheduled operations serving 10 locations on the coastal area of British Columbia and Washington State.
Both McDougall and Harbour Air have received many awards for management, service, environmental responsibility and contributions to air safety. Harbour Air is a stalwart supporter of the British Columbia Aviation Council and McDougall was named Tourism Employer of the Year in 2014 by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.
Paris, C.M., served with 152 Squadron Royal Air Force in North Africa as a Spitfire pilot and as a test pilot. After the war, Paris worked with Transport Canada’s regulatory regime governing general aviation in Canada and the reinstatement of the Webster Trophy competition for achievement in Canadian aviation. He was a founding director of the National Air Museum Society and served as president, lobbying for a proper home for the then National (now Canada) Aviation and Space Museum. Paris managed the technical aspects of the Great London to Victoria Air Race in 1970 and was recognized for his efforts both internationally and in Canada, including investment as a member of the order of Canada in 1989. He died in 2010.
The keynote address was given by Hélène Gagnon, vice-president, Public Affairs and Global Communications, CAE, who urged attendees to make the public aware of how the industry is reducing its carbon footprint through the use of more efficient aircraft, biofuels, more efficient airports and by training pilots on simulators among other initiatives.
She also challenged the industry to “take action on diversity and inclusion,” noting that less than five per cent of pilots globally are women, which needs to change in a world that will require 300,000 new pilots over the next 10 years.